New plays get test flight at Stage Struck 2011

This weekend offers a rare glimpse at plays going to the stage for the first time.

Stage Struck 2011, at the Walterdale Playhouse tonight (Friday, Feb 25) and tomorrow (Saturday, Feb 26), is festival consisting of seven one-act adult plays, “but not adult as in triple-X,” jokes organizer Mary-Ellen Perley of the Alberta Drama Festival Association, a not-for-profit organization that develops community theatre in the province.

Three plays at Stage Struck are world-premieres: Gone by Sarah Van Tassel, Hookers by Phil Kreisel and Everything I Didn’t Need to Know I Learned in Grade Nine by Barbara North, while the others are a mixture of published plays and other works.

Plays at Stage Struck are adjudicated by local theatre star John Kirkpatrick (right), who judges the play after each performance in front of the public on how well the piece was realized on stage.

“Because the plays are adjudicated there are strict guidelines for the festival,” explains Perley. “Plays must be over 10 minutes, but less than 60 minutes and the set must go up in 10 minutes and struck in five.”

The festival acts as a chance for playwrights to test their works in front of an audience and to tweak it with input from Kirkpatrick as well as from the audience and fellow actors. Many plays have premiered at Stage Struck and then have gone on to other festivals, such as the Fringe.

“It’s quite the variety of plays, from dramas to comedy. Barbara North’s piece is a one-woman comedy standup piece she’ll be honing for the Fringe,” says Perley.

Considering Stage Struck will be the first time many of these plays will ever be seen, Perley could only comment on Hookers, in which she stars in.

Hookers isn’t what about what it seems, so don’t get excited. Kreisel’s play is about “a case of mistaken identity,” Perley explains. “Two individuals ‘hook up’ with not the people they were expecting. It’s a comedy in which Shakespeare heavily plays a role in. Phil has woven a bit of the traditional mistaken identity plot into a modern play.”

Awards are given out Saturday night and the best production is chosen to compete in the provincial finals in Lethbridge in May.

The Stage Struck festival is a labour of love for all those involved, and great chance for local theatre-lovers to sit in on the creative process of theatre. Tickets can be purchased at the door or by clicking here.